Amazon could owe drivers £140 million over employee rights claims

Amazon could owe thousands of drivers who deliver its parcels an average of £10,500 compensation for each year they have delivered for the company.

Amazon could owe thousands of drivers who deliver its parcels an average of £10,500 compensation for each year they have delivered for the company, according to a law firm.

Leigh Day has launched an employee rights claim on behalf of drivers and believes that Amazon could owe drivers a total £140m in compensation. It is arguing that the drivers’ work and how they fit into the business is dictated by Amazon, and says that as a result delivery drivers should have more rights.

Currently, drivers making deliveries on behalf of Amazon via ‘Delivery Service Partners’ (DSPs) are classified as self-employed, so they don’t benefit from employees’ rights such as holiday pay, at least National Minimum Wage and an employment contract.

Drivers say that after paying vehicle rental and insurance, they are often left with meagre earnings. They also say that the Amazon app gives them estimated travel times between deliveries, which they have to meet.

Leigh Day says that at least 3,000 drivers could be able to claim for employee rights.

Delivery driver Bill Lightfoot, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said:

 “The work is horrendous because Amazon control everything you do. There were times I was out on delivery, and I’d stop for a few minutes, and they’d ring up and ask why I was parked up.

“The money I was earning wasn’t anywhere close to covering my rent and bills. In one week, I worked 36 hours over four days and I should have earned £464 but they gave me £2.74. It doesn’t sound believable but it’s true.

“I was very unhappy delivering for them. Effectively I was paying them to do their deliveries, rather than the other way around.”

Kate Robinson, a solicitor in the employment team at Leigh Day, said: “Amazon is short-changing drivers making deliveries on their behalf. This is disgraceful behaviour from a company that makes billions of pounds a year. Drivers delivering for Amazon have to work set shifts and book time off, yet Amazon claim they are self-employed.

“Paying out compensation of £140m sounds like a large bill to foot, but for a company that turned a profit of £5.8bn in the first three months of 2021, it’s a drop in the ocean. For drivers on the other hand, earning at least National Minimum Wage, getting holiday pay and being under a proper employment contract could be life changing.”

Amazon says it is committed to ensuring drivers are fairly compensated.

The company said: “We’re hugely proud of the drivers who work with our partners across the country, getting our customers what they want, when they want, wherever they are.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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